Crystal: I have the chance to ask Sally Naylor a few questions as part of this Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tour. Welcome Sally! I'm so happy to have you here today. Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?
Sally: Sally Naylor, daughter of a highly decorated WWII combat veteran, FBI agent, and lawyer, and a sweet, stay-at-home, religious, southern belle mother, roamed the world growing up as an “Air Force Brat”. This gypsy was raised with and confused by both the sword and the cross. A series of crises later in life: chronic fatigue, widowhood, breast cancer, in addition to a new love affair, motivated her to engage in this rogue romp to Nirvana as she sorts through the impossible expectations of her conventional middle class upbringing.
And yes, she did attain her own Nirvana but in an unexpected & bizarre manner.
Before she set aside societal conditioning and its inherent promise of Nirvana, Naylor negotiated and ultimately thrived as an independent school English teacher and curriculum developer. Naylor’s students have had their work featured in many publications and have won numerous writing awards. In addition to teaching creative writing she served as an in-school counselor where she initiated student peer-to-peer counseling, mediation and AIDS Ed training programs. She teaches creative writing and blogs, and enjoys life coaching, interviews, public speaking, and facilitating workshops.
Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?
“As an adolescent, I only had time for God, dogs and square dancing. Having been seduced by hyper-religious friends to join an organization called “Youth for Christ”, I went off the tracks. Does it still exist? I hope not. Its appeal lay in a series of social opportunities, including Bible competitions. So I got to work and memorized huge chunks of that tome and subsequently made a name and created an identity for myself as a Bible wiz kid.
I was saved. I prayed that the Lord strike me dead if I did not fulfill my pledge to be a missionary to Brazil and other extreme covenants.
This did not please my parents. They were losing control. Fortunately for them, I
would soon reach the Presbyterian age of consent, fourteen, and was enrolled in religious classes designed to prepare me for my baptism and first communion. Calvinists do not baptize infants because they believe a child should make this important decision independent of parental influence. A rather lofty concept!
However, in my case it was to remain just that: a concept. The morning of my baptism I remember feeling particularly hypocritical due to my looming adoption of this watered-down, genteel version of the true (Youth for Christ) religion. I can feel John Calvin shudder in his grave at this appraisal.
“Come out this minute, young lady! Do you hear me? This minute,” yelled my father as he banged violently on the bathroom door. I could hear my mother whining, murmuring instructions and occasionally wailing,
“What will people think?”
from behind the door. I sat on the lid of the very hard toilet seat, regretting my lack of planning. It would’ve been nice to have a book and a cushion in order to pass this time comfortably. Fortunately or not, depending upon your perspective, I was not to be bored long.
After dressing for church, that Sunday morning of my baptism, I had quietly slipped into the bathroom and locked the door, practicing conscientious objection. When my parents discovered my scheme, they were furious, but I sat smugly on the toilet; good had triumphed over evil, until they enlisted my younger brother to pick the lock. The look I gave him as the bobby pin clicked loudly, and the door opened was the very personification of contempt. I think I’ve forgiven him; he was merely a pawn, but I’m not entirely sure.
The rest of the story is predictable. I was strong-armed into the car, marched into the church, where I mouthed all the appropriate responses, and took my first communion, thereby betraying what I construed as my immortal soul. I then had the first inklings of awareness that I was creative. Relatively few arrange to morph their baptisms into a kind of damnation.
As a committed Holy Roller I was pledged to “testify for Jesus” and during a
slumber party I once managed to strive all night against the devil and
consequently, saved a friend’s soul. Unfortunately, her mother took it back the next morning.”
Crystal: Where did you come up with the idea for Rogue Nirvana?
Sally: I volunteered for a hot seat experience at a publishing conference. At the time I had a poetry manuscript by the same name waiting to be published. Based on positive feedback from the panelists, I decided to reach a wider audience and re-envisioned the book as a satirical memoir, which I then peppered with poetry from the original manuscript. So it’s a bit experimental.
Crystal: What are you currently working on?
Sally: My first book of poetry, Firebird, a story of regeneration and cancer recovery, published in January 2012 is available on Amazon. For more information visit www.roguenirvana.com My next book is titled The Estrogen Paradox. I’m also working on a creative writing text, two books of poetry, and a sequel for Rogue Nirvana.
Crystal: Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing?
Sally: I loathe routines. When I adopt one, it suits the project I’m working on. I drop it once the book is birthed.
Crystal: Did you have to do a lot of research this book or any other?
Sally: Yes I enjoyed researching quantum physics for my last chapter and found it challenging, but gratifying. I was a bit science phobic before this exploration.
Crystal: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Sally: I love the poetry of Mary Oliver, Richard Blanco, Campbell McGrath and the prose of James Joyce, J.D. Salinger, Anne Tyler, Ellen Gilchrist and Annie Dillard.
Crystal: Is there a genre you haven't written that you would like to try?
Sally: I enjoyed weaving prose and poetry into this satirical memoir. I like to push genre boundaries. I’ll leave so called straight fiction to others. I find enough fiction in my poetry and memoir to sustain me.
About The Book
Educator, counselor & poet, Sally Naylor celebrates the release of her second book Rogue Nirvana -- Beyond Woo-Woo: Create the Life You Love. If you’ve ever wondered if this is all there is or wondered what’s missing in your life’s journey, this book offers a comedic yet laser-focused excursion into how societal norms, self-help, & new age spirituality do not often offer you relief. After battles with chronic fatigue, cancer, & widowhood, Naylor sought, synthesized & now shares in this field guide, her belief that you too can construct your own personal Nirvana.
Paperback: 152 pages
Publisher: Motivational Press, Inc. (May 20, 2014)
About The Author
And yes, she did attain her own Nirvana but in an unexpected & bizarre manner
Before setting aside societal conditioning, this renegade, scamp and unrepentant rascal thrived as an upper school English teacher and curriculum developer. Naylor’s students have had their work featured in many publications and have won numerous writing awards. In addition to teaching creative writing and blogging, she served as an in-school counselor where she initiated student peer-to-peer counseling, mediation and AIDS Ed programs.
She also engages in life coaching, interviews, speaking and facilitating workshops. Her first book of poetry, Firebird, a story of regeneration and cancer recovery, published in January 2012 is also available on Amazon. Her next book is titled The Estrogen Project. Also in the works are Rogue’s Release: Relief in 30 Minutes a Week, a creative writing text, and two poetry books: Heresies & Sweet Basil and Exit Stage Left.
Tour Hosted by Write Now Literary Book Tours